Four male figures in 17th-century clothes are arranged around a counter. Three are seated close together and are shown frontally: they have similar somatic characters, such as a sharp nose, plump lips and a slightly receding forehead. They are counting silver coins piled on the table on which you can also see a letter and a nib with an ink container. A figure, dressed in a black jacket, from which brown sleeves and a white collar come out, is portrayed from behind and appears to be waiting to collect a sum of money. Christ and St. Peter enter the scene from the right, accompanied by a beam of light. Christ makes an eloquent gesture of calling towards one of the three men seated behind the table, raising his right arm. The surprised man (Matthew) who is counting the coins brings his index finger to his chest as if to make sure that Christ is addressing him. The scenographic layout derives from the famous painting by Caravaggio for the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi de' Francesi in Rome. However, the painting surprises for the rarity and the mysteriousness of the "disguised" subject: a family portrait could actually be hidden. In fact, upon careful observation, one notes a strong similarity between the figure of Matthew and his companions of different ages: the portraiture character of these figures, the clothes they wear and the gestures strongly contrast with the idealized physiognomic characters of Christ and of St. Peter. In fact, it could be a work commissioned by a family of bankers who intended to ennoble their profession through a sacred representation.


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